Noel Kirnon, former head of global structured finance at Moody's Investors Service, has left the rating agency. While a search for a permanent head is underway, Andy Kimball, who is chief credit officer at Moody's, is replacing Kirnon in the interim. Rich Cantor will assume responsibility for Kimball's roles as Moody's chief credit officer and chairman of its credit policy committee. Besides these two roles, Kimball has also held various senior positions at Moody's, including senior managing director for global corporate finance and managing director for Moody's risk and management services. Cantor most recently served as managing director of the credit policy research group and is a member of Moody's credit policy committee and co-chairs Moody's academic advisory panel. He joined Moody's from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

McKee Nelson has assembled the first covered bond team to advise issuers and underwriters on the sector. Partners John Arnholz and Kenneth Marin will lead the new initiative, which will be incorporated into the firm's existing securitization and structured finance practice. The new team is working with issuers, including non-banks, on hybrid structures that feature a dual recourse arrangement typical of covered bonds. Last April's Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) policy statement clarifying the treatment of these bonds under certain circumstances emphasized the intent of fostering growth of the covered bond market.

Fridson Investment Advi-sors (FIA) appointed Sean Bailey as head of sales. FIA chief executive officer Martin Fridson said Bailey embodies the solution-driven philosophy of the firm, which was established this past May. Bailey is a veteran of Deutsche Bank, UBS, and Credit Suisse First Boston. He served as top sales representative at Paine Webber before joining Drexel Burnham Lambert, where he served as head of the mortgage-banking unit until he joined Daiwa Securities in 1990. At Daiwa, Bailey was a member of a team in charge of identifying esoteric trading opportunities and creating new MBS products. FIA was founded earlier this year by Fridson, the CEO of research firm FridsonVision, and global partner BNP Paribas Investment Partners. FIA will offer various investment products that may include managed accounts and pooled vehicles. A source familiar with the group said that FIA's fund would be open to investors beginning June 2.

Dale Westhoff, who was senior managing director at Bear Stearns, has published the first issue of Short-Term Prepayment Estimates for July 2008 as part of JPMorgan Securities. The report was co-authored by V.S. Srinivasan and Steven Bergantino, who were also from Bear. In a related development, former Bear Stearns Chief Economist John Ryding and Senior Economist Conrad DeQuadros have started RDQ Economics, which will be launched on July 1.

Metropolitan West Asset Management has named David Lippman as CEO, replacing Scott Dubchansky, who founded the firm in 1996. Lippman will retain his duties as a portfolio manager focused on corporate, MBS and ABS.

Sanjiv Das will return to Citi-Mortgage as chief executive on July 16, the company said Tuesday. Das previously worked at the company from 1991 to 1999, spending two years at CitiMortgage as managing director of marketing and product development. He has also served as head of Citi's global mortgage products group. Most recently, Das served as managing director in the institutional securities group at Morgan Stanley. Das will replace Bill Beckmann, who has served as head of CitiMortgage since 2005. Beckmann said he is leaving the company to spend more time with his family (ASR, 6/9/08).

The Senate has confirmed Joseph Murin to serve as president of Ginnie Mae. Murin, who was nominated by President George W. Bush back in October, possesses more than 35 years of mortgage and banking industry experience. He previously served as president and managing partner of the Mortgage Settlement Network from 2004 through August 2007. Before that, he served as chief executive officer of the Basis100 Corp. Earlier in his career, he served as president and chief executive officer of Lender's Service.

Wachovia has taken recent steps to accommodate its mortgage customers in the current challenging economy. The company has waived prepayment fees associated with its "pick-a-payment" mortgage, including mortgages on one- to four-unit residences. This is a move that Wachovia mortgage president David Pope said will give customers "the freedom to manage their current financial situation more effectively." Wachovia is also discontinuing offering negative amortization products. Wachovia will continue to offer a variety of portfolio, marketable and government products through Wachovia mortgage employees, third-party brokers and via telephone and the Internet.

Radian Group has declared an ordinary dividend of $107 million from its financial guaranty subsidiary, Radian Asset Insurance. The company intends to use the funds to support its core mortgage insurance business and as Chief Executive Officer S.A. Ibrahim said this move is intended to strengthen the company's overall capital position.

(c) 2008 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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